Shami Chakrabarti 'could be forced' in front of MPs to clarify peerage and antisemitism report

Unamed sources say shadow attorney general could be hauled on to the Home Affairs select committee

Peter Walker
Monday 17 October 2016 15:05
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Shami Chakrabarti, pictured on 30 June unveiling her report into the Labour party, claims she was only informed of the peerage after completing her inquiry
Shami Chakrabarti, pictured on 30 June unveiling her report into the Labour party, claims she was only informed of the peerage after completing her inquiry

Shami Chakrabarti could be forced to appear before MPs to answer questions surrounding her Labour peerage and her “whitewash” antisemitism report, according to sources.

Unnamed sources on the Home Affairs select committee, cited by The Daily Telegraph, believe Baroness Chakrabarti still has “questions to answer” over the timing of her peerage and the report.

The powerful committee released a report on Sunday that criticised Jeremy Corbyn over “institutionally anti-Semitic” abuse within Labour.

It also claimed Baroness Chakrabarti, the former director of human rights group Liberty, was not “sufficiently open” about when she was offered and accepted the honour.

Shami Chakrabarti receiving her peerage in September 2016 in the House of Lords parliamentlive/screengrab

“There is a civil war in the Labour Party,” the source said.

Baroness Chakrabarti published a report on 30 June which said Labour was “not overrun by antisemitism, Islamophobia or other forms of racism”.

Her 20 recommendations included that “members should resist the use of Hitler, Nazi and Holocaust metaphors”.

Around five weeks later, Jeremy Corbyn nominated her for a peerage, and in the most recent shadow cabinet reshuffle, she was made shadow attorney general.

Speculation has since mounted however as to whether Baroness Chakrabarti, who joined Labour in April, discussed the peerage with a fellow Labour member earlier in the year.

Asked specifically in an interview with BBC's Andrew Neil if her peerage was “discussed before the report with anybody in the Labour party”, Baroness Chakrabarti replied: “No, no.”

Shami Chakrabarti has been nominated to join the upper house just over a month after she published the anti-semitism report Getty

But a source has apparently claimed that before the interview, Baroness Chakrabarti never responded to detailed questions on the subject sent by then-Home Affairs select committee chair Keith Vaz on August 16.

Over the weekend, current committee chair and Tory Tim Loughton MP told BBC’s Andrew Marr Show Baroness Chakrabarti’s report “wasn't worth the paper it was written on.

The distinguished 47-year-old lawyer has been under increasing media coverage recently after also being pressured into defending her right to send her son to an £18,000 private school.

The Independent has contacted the Home Affairs select committee and Baroness Chakrabarti for comment.

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